State mining vehicle, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) is seeking joint venture partners to inject close to $200 million for the operationalisation of its three copper mines in Sanyati.
According to an investment document seen by the Business Weekly, the Sanyati copper project situated south west of Chinhoyi needs recapitalisation and funding for exploration and development.
“The Sanyati Copper Mining Project has a special grant measuring 25 100 hectares with total Ore reserves: Proven and Probable — 14,4 million tonnes at 2,88 percent, copper and Indicated reserves — 3,52 million tonnes at 3,5 percent copper.
“The project needs recapitalisation, exploration and development. The required $200 million will go towards extensive exploration programme and operationalisation of the three copper mines,” read part of the document.
The investment required will also go towards commissioning of a new smelter and refinery for the project.
ZMDC has three groups of Copper Mines namely, Mhangura Copper Mines, Sanyati and Alaska Mine.
Studies done show that there is significant potential on the copper mines. The state mining group will continue to make the mines attractive through regular updating of inspections, care and maintenance work as well as investment promotional initiatives.
Various projects are underway to resuscitate the different mines with assistance from Government. The investments will depend on the final scope of the projects.
Studies done on the copper mines so far shows that Mhangura mine compared to other copper operations has the least resource while there are better prospects at Sanyati copper mine.
Copper is currently in a supply deficit which is likely to increase over the next three years. Prospects of a sustained Chinese economic recovery, rising demand from electric vehicle manufacturers and United States infrastructure plans announced following the election of President Trump are all driving copper demand.
Meanwhile, labour disruptions, declining ore grades and a lack of new capacity are constricting supply, thereby resulting in a tightening market.
Supply side issues took the centre stage in 2017 when production was disrupted in some of the major copper mines globally. These disruptions, together with capacity constraints, declining ore grades and delays to new projects aggravated supply concerns.
According to The International Copper Study Group (ICSG), global copper production is estimated to have declined by nearly three percent in the first five months of 2017.